Thursday, February 24, 2011

Big Things Come in Small Packages

In baseball, sometimes it's not size that matters.  More important is quality instruction, hard work and determination. Here's a good story from on the promising career of 5'7" Kansas City Royals pitcher, Tim Collins.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baseball For All at Spring Training

Justine Siegal of Baseball For All continues to spread her message that girls can play baseball too. This week at Cleveland Indians spring training, she became the first woman to throw batting practice for a Major League team. Pretty cool.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Composite Bats Get LL Waivers

Little League has granted several more waivers under its composite bat moratorium at the Majors Division and below:  a couple of DeMarini CF4's and some of last year's Easton Stealth models. The Stealths are surprising to me, as they are quality bats and I had figured the older model composites would be too "hot" to pass Little League testing. Here is the updated list of waivers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Study Concludes Youth Sports Don't Interfere With Family Time

A study has been conducted at the University of Minnesota by the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium to determine how much family time youth sports activities take up.

The results have been published amidst several media reports about those who say that organized youth sports take away too much from valuable family time and kids' creative, unstructured activities. The movement against over-scheduling kids has taken off in recent years as a response to a general trend of longer seasons and kids playing multiple sports at the same time.

But interestingly, the conclusions of the Minnesota study indicate otherwise. Parents who were polled did not seem to think their sports activities were taking up much time normally spent on homework, sleep, family dinners, etc.

Every town, league and family is different. Some families just eat, sleep and breathe baseball (or whatever sport they are playing). Some may feel that youth sports has created more family time, since they have an activity they all enjoy together. To others it is a burden and creates less family time.

One thing is for sure. We all make our own decisions about our amount of involvement in youth sports, based on what works for our own families. I think that's the reason behind the conclusions of this study. As long as you're making your own decisions, you can't really complain about it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Study on Youth Pitching

The results of a 10-year study on youth pitching have been published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine. This one, which began in 1999 before pitch counts were the norm in youth baseball, used innings pitched as the primary risk factor to be measured. The study also looked at pitchers who played the position of catcher and those who threw curveballs before the age of 13.

The study found that youth pitchers throwing more than 100 innings per calendar year were 3.5 times more likely to experience a serious arm injury. It found a small increase in injuries for those pitchers also playing catcher. But it was unable to find a correlation between curveballs and injuries.

The details of this study, as well as a good summary on youth pitching and previous research on the subject, are in the AJSM publication. This is not exactly new information - we know quite a lot more about overuse injuries than we did in 1999. But it is further confirmation and another reminder of how careful we need to be about the number of pitches our boys throw, how fatigued they get when pitching, and how much rest they get between outings. Taking these precautions, which are mostly mandated by Little League rules, and teaching proper mechanics will go a long way toward keeping our pitchers safe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Time to Start Getting Ready

It's February - technically still winter, but baseball season is right around the corner. In the interest of shaking off the rust and getting the arms in shape for the season, this is the time to dust off the ball and glove and start throwing once or twice a week.

Many players, including my own pitching students, have been in a winter shutdown period.  Some have been working on their swings in addition to enjoying other sports like basketball. But with tryouts and practices only a few weeks away, it's a good idea to start preparing by gradually throwing a little more each week as the season nears. Eventually the pitchers will take to the hill, but not until their arms are conditioned.

Hopefully we'll get more good weather like this past weekend: Sunny and 70 on Sunday. At one point every field and batting cage was in use. It felt and looked like May. The fields are always there, so get out there or in the backyard and get ready for the season.